A large nation of dwarves living in the White Mountains in southern Lauredor.
The Grey Dwarves are a hardy folk, living in the city of Khamar, which is found in the Nernoth Mountains in Central Lauredor. A reclusive, clannish race, they do not allow non-dwarves within their mountain halls. Years of living alongside hardy mountain men have borne a race of half-dwarves who are considered full members of the clans (yet still not allowed inside the halls).
The Grey Dwarves (as the entire nation are called) have several trade cities on the outer limits of their lands where they gladly deal with other races – on the dwarves’ terms. As a nation, they tend to favour metal weapons and armours – utilizing their skill and superior ore to manufacture strong armours and weapons that easily overcome lesser materials.
Abilities and Classes
Dwarves of the Grey Dwarves are a mix of both hill and mountain dwarves. As such, they may choose either sub-race. Grey Dwarves of hill dwarf stock receive +1 to Strength and Constitution and -1 to Dexterity, Charisma and Comeliness. Mountain dwarf Grey Dwarves receive a +1 to Strength, +2 to Constitution, a -2 to Dexterity and -1 to Charisma and Comeliness. Normally, mountain dwarves are found in the cities of Kazrack, Citadel of Fire and Citadel of Ice. Hill dwarves are typically in Cragmorton, Khamar and Dhar-Khosis. This is not a hard-and-fast rule, as the two types of dwarves inter-mingle.
Humans of the Grey Dwarves populate Zhoran (exclusively), Khamar, Cragmorton, Kazrack and Dhar-Khosis. They are not permitted in either Citadel. They gain a +1 to Constitution.
The Grey Dwarves have different classes available depending on their sub-race: Dwarf or Human:
Dwarves may be a cleric, fighter, thief, fighter/cleric, fighter/thief.
Humans may be a cleric, bard, fighter, magician, thief.
Cleric – Clerics are revered in the Dwarven society. They are the direct conduits of the three deities and all crimes against them are considered capital crimes. All are able to hear the calling of the church.
Fighter – The staple of the fighting forces, guards and soldiers amongst the Grey Dwarves, fighters are given respect and this is considered an honourable profession.
Magician – A profession for humans only, Magicians are not given a lot of respect amongst the Grey Dwarves. Their powers are not trusted, but their usefulness is grudgingly given.
Paladin – A very rare profession, humans living among the Grey Dwarves may feel the church calling them to be an elite warrior.
Thief – Sneaks, cheats and lowlifes. There is no honour is being a thief among the Grey Dwarves. Never trusted and looked upon as cowards and vermin, those who follow this profession keep it quiet.
Bard – the Grey Dwarves are proud of their history and legends. Bards living among them find an almost endless supply of inspiration for their songs and tales.
Like some human nations, the Grey Dwarves hail from different clans or family groups. Within a Clan, several families will live close to each other, providing protection, support and promoting each other before other Clans.
Typically, each Clan is known for a unique quality, be it hardy warriors, talented woodworkers, or exceptional brewers. For the most part, the families within that Clan will work towards continuing that trend, considering it a point of honour.
A dwarf will wear his Clan name proudly, typically giving it in place of his surname. For example, Durn Stonehammer of Clan Ironmaul would refer to himself as “Durn, of Clan Ironmaul”. The only exception of this is if a Clan member disgraces himself. From that point on, he will abandon his Clan name, saving them the embarrassment of having his name associated with them.
Dwarves are expert craftsmen not out of some god-given ability, but because they serve long, exacting apprenticeships. Dwarves traditionally serve a 25-year apprenticeship, which begins at the age of 25. To dwarves this is part of life. "A job worth doing, is worth doing well."
This attitude is deeply ingrained and explains why dwarves love to create beautiful objects and lavish so much time on them. They seek to create that which will last until time's end, and they have difficulty comprehending why other races consider work a chore rather than an act of artistic expression to be savored and enjoyed. Dwarf craftsmen, because of their skills, produce weapons, armour, and other goods more quickly than other races, yet of superior quality.
Some crafts are looked upon with more favour (or more readily accepted) among the dwarves. These would include mining, stonemasonry, any type of smith-work, and working with armour or weapons. All craftsmen are afforded respect amongst the Grey Dwarves, however.
Dwarves do not compromise when dealing with evil races, particularly when competing with them for living space or when their welfare is threatened.
Dwarves detest orcs, goblins, hobgoblins, and evil giants, eradicating them whenever found. Their hatred of evil races is as ancient as the dwarves themselves. Originally, wars were fought to determine who had the right to live underground, but the conflict has spread to the surface.
Dwarves have no doubt that they are involved in a war of massive proportions. It is known as the "War to the Death," for the dwarves have sworn to fight until their enemies are destroyed.
For the Grey Dwarves, war is fought from within their strongholds or underground. They do not field armies on the surface or lay siege to human or elf settlements. The humans of the dwarflands form militias and guard forces, but they have never been sent to attack another settlement by the dwarf king. Such things are simply not done.
One fact about going to war with the Grey Dwarves is not spoken of, but is known by some – once war has been declared, only the death of the dwarf forces will end it. If an enemy force attacks the dwarves, they are an enemy forever. There is no concept of “forgive and forget” for the Grey Dwarves.
The dwarves are led by a King and Queen. These figures are hereditary leaders, with their bloodline traced through the male’s line. To date, the line is unbroken and traces their ancestry proudly back over twenty generations.
The current royal couple are King Tordek Clawbreaker and his wife Queen Istella Gemcutter. King Tordek is the 22nd monarch of the dwarves, having become King upon the death of his father, Grelldun II. King Tordek is a moderate dwarf, who has looked inward to help his people rather than outward to open new caves or sink new mines. He sees his role as King as a chance to help ensure that all of his people have enough to eat and clothes on their backs – even the Humans. This does not engender him to the noble dwarven families, who favour a King that recognizes the importance of clean, pure bloodlines.
Gods of the Dwarves
The dwarves venerate three gods, Ladizar the Warfather, Vergonar the Craftsman, and Gorundor Gorehammer, patron of smiths.
Cities of the Grey Dwarves
Citadel of Fire: One of two twin castles high in the White Mountains. The dwarves consider the two citadels holy royal palaces.
Citadel of Ice: One of two twin castles high in the White Mountains. The dwarves consider the two citadels holy royal palaces.
Cragmorton: The Guardian of the Pass of Dhar, the Grey Dwarves charge steep fees to guide caravans through the Pass. Unescorted caravans are "discouraged".
Dhar-Khosis: The Southern Guardian of the Dhar Pass, Dhar-Khosis uses the Griffin as its' standard. Long ago, the dwarves of Dhar-Khosis bred the creatures. Many would pay huge sums to relearn the secrets of rearing griffins.
Kazrack: Capital of the Kingdom and gateway to the Citadels of Ice and Fire, this dwarven trade city is very popular with the cities of Sulador. It trades heavily with the free city of Ilnyr to the East.
Khamar: The watch post against the Atragar, the Grey Dwarves populate this town with men only. In a strange move for them, they have declared this town off-limits to dwarves.